Plano’s six Rotary clubs recently worked together to support children in foster care by hosting an Adoption Awareness Fair that allowed children to meet potential adoptive parents in a fun setting. The big event took place at a church in Plano and was coordinated by Michelle and Glen Thornton of the Rotary Club of Plano West, both past presidents of the club.
At the adoption fair, nearly 50 children ages 3 to 17 who are currently living in foster care were invited by the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (TDFPS) to participate in a day of fun and games hosted by Rotarians and community volunteers. TDFPS has also invited carefully selected adults who wish to adopt to also participate in the fair. This allowed for observation, interaction and relationship building between children and adults.
Michelle and Glen planned 22 different activities for the kids to do, including playing basketball, Connect 4 and one-minute games to win. Kids could also decorate cupcakes, visit a play truck, pot their own plant, see inside a Plano fire truck, check out a Plano police department vehicle and much more. As they checked off each activity on their checklist, each child could choose from a wide range of prizes.
Snacks, drinks and treats – including snow cones and popcorn – were provided, as well as a hot breakfast and lunch. The event cost nothing for children or adults.
Several volunteers commented on the success of the event and observed that the children all seemed to be having fun, enjoying all there was to do.
Other volunteers included members of the Dallas Rotary Club, Royce City Rotary Club, Plano Senior High Interact Club, Plano Community Rotaract Club and Christ United Methodist Church. TDFPS also contributed several staff members to the event.
A total of 75 volunteers contributed time to this project, totaling 375 cumulative hours. Funds donated totaled $1,550 and supplies donated were valued at $250, for a grand total of $1,800 in donations.
Plano clubs are located in Rotary District 5810, which covers eight North Texas counties. The Rotary District 5810 Adoption Awareness Fair began about 20 years ago and has moved to a few different towns in the district since then. Unfortunately, the Collin County Adoption Awareness Event has been canceled in 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The main show contact at TDFPS, Laqueena Warren, was happy to have him back this year.
“Words cannot express how much [TDFPS] and our precious children appreciate you and your entire team. The kids seemed to be having so much fun! said Laqueena.
For Michelle and Glen, this project was personal. “Since Glen and I attended the Grand Prairie Adoption Awareness Fairs prior to 2018, and then were invited by TDFPS to host an additional District 5810 event in Collin County, we have wanted to be part of of this program. Glen was adopted, so this project is close to his heart, as well as to other volunteers who told us their adoption story. Even if just one child from our event were adopted into a forever family, it would be worth it! »
Plano West Rotary hosts several service projects each month, including food distributions with Plano ISD, furniture deliveries alongside Bed Start, volunteering at local events, roadside cleanups and more. Community members interested in volunteering in an upcoming service project can register at planowestrotary.com/page/service-projects.
Rotary Club of Plano West